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School shooter dons 'killer' shirt, flips off court at sentencing

March 19, 2013|By Matt Pearce

T.J. Lane is guilty but not sorry for killing three high school classmates. His lack of remorse was printed on the shirt he wore to his sentencing in an Ohio court and conveyed by the middle finger he flipped to those he has hurt.

The 18-year-old Chardon, Ohio, student was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday for a February 2012 school shooting in which Lane killed three students and wounded three others with a .22-caliber handgun. Lane pleaded guilty last month.

He killed Demetrius Hewlin, 16, Russell King Jr., 17, and Daniel Parmertor, 16. Officials said Lane, an alternative-school student, fired 10 shots in the Chardon High School cafeteria.

Lane's was the second high-profile criminal sentencing of an Ohio high school student in three days. Two Steubenville high school students sobbed after they were convicted Sunday of raping a 16-year-old girl and sentenced to juvenile prison.

Yet Lane was not so sorrowful.

Wearing a wrinkled white T-shirt with the word "killer" printed on it in big block letters -- revealed after Lane unbuttoned his shirt in court -- he smirked through the Tuesday proceedings, at one point turning to address the victims' families.

"The hand that pulled the trigger that killed your sons now masturbates to the memory," Lane said, according to the Associated Press, at which point he then cussed at and gestured obscenely toward the victims' relatives.

"You're a pathetic excuse for a human being. In fact, you're not even human. You’re a monster," one of the victims' mothers, Dina Parmertor, said in court, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

"I want you to be ensured years and years of pain, which in my opinion is not enough," Parmertor said. "You don’t deserve to take another breath while my 16-year-old son lies in the ground because of your cold, disgusting actions. You’re a weak, pathetic, vile coward."

Lane was not eligible for the death penalty because of his age, 17, at the time of the shooting. He'd initially pleaded not guilty by reason of mental insanity but was later found to be competent enough to stand trial.

After the shooting, Lane was found along the side of a road wearing a T-shirt with the word "killer" printed on it, officials said.

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matt.pearce@latimes.com

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